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Reflecting on Australian Fresh Expressions Conference 2014

Last week marked a special occasion with the first Australian national Fresh Expressions/Mission Shaped Ministry Conference taking place.

Fresh Expressions is a term describing creativity and innovation in approaches to church and faith community. It (the term) emerged from the UK over the last 10 years after a ground breaking report (Mission Shaped Church) set the Church of England, Methodist and later the United Reformed Church on a path exploring fresh approaches.

One of the training tools developed in the UK to help local leadership groups plan and establish fresh expressions is called Mission Shaped Ministry.  The course has been trialled in Australia (specifically in Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne) by a collaboration of churches (Lutheran, Anglican, Uniting, Baptist at least) over the past few years.

This year’s conference grew from that collaboration and drew a variety of participants including¬† (a) ‘pioneer’ leaders planning or leading ‘fresh expressions'; (b) ministers or leaders of the traditional church wanting to make space for fresh expressions; (c) denominational mission staff; and (d) those who have been involved in the pilot MSM courses.

The gathering was resourced by the UK’s Dave Male and Ben Edson. Dave and Ben both have broad experience in both leading fresh expressions themselves, and in supporting or training other pioneer leaders. Between them they explored a range of topics around the task of pioneering. Here’s a few of the highlights (at least from where I sat): Continue reading